Ever since Mattel conceived of a line of science-fantasy characters to compete with the burgeoning Star Wars toy line, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe has occupied a strange and fascinating niche in pop culture. Despite the property’s cynical origins, He-Man, Skeletor, and their allies captured the imaginations of an entire generation of children – now grown adults with disposable entertainment budgets ripe for the picking.
Masters of the Universe has seen numerous revivals and attempts at adaptations, none more torturous than the ongoing quest to create a new feature film based on the property. After the departure of director John M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) last year, the adaptation’s eventual fate became questionable. A new rumor states that Sony now has a solid shortlist of directors they want to take over Chu’s spot.
Schmoes Know reports that a new list of directors is being courted to helm Masters of the Universe, citing an industry source known as “the Phantom.” The directors in consideration for the position include Andrés Muschietti (Mama), Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), Rian Johnson (Brick, Breaking Bad), Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie), and Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders (The Croods).
If there is any veracity to this group of potentials, it tells us little about the desired tone and style of Masters of the Universe. The only common thread between these seven names is that they are all currently in demand, having put out popular and lucrative projects within the last few years. Each director (or directing team) would bring an entirely different background to a potential He-Man project.
Rian Johnson, for instance, is currently a genre favorite for his well-received time travel epic Looper. At the same time, his directorial style (so far) has emphasized grit and touches of bleak realism even in a fantastical setting. His skills are undeniable (he directed the Breaking Bad episode “Ozymandias,” one of the most gut-rending episodes of television ever filmed), but is he even remotely the right fit for Masters of the Universe?
On the other end of the spectrum are DeMicco and Sanders, whose directorial experience has been limited to animated features. Admittedly, Sanders sports a better pedigree than DeMicco – after all, he co-directed the original How to Train Your Dragon. Would their directorial sensibilities translate well to a live-action film?
That was certainly the case with Lord and Miller, the duo who broke into the industry with the cult favorite television show Clone High and filmmaking with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. They managed to strike success with what had seemed like a can’t-win property in 21 Jump Street and are currently helming its sequel. The chance of seeing the pair put their quirky stamp on Masters of the Universe is most definitely appealing – but is their incessantly goofy approach really what Sony is after?
Perhaps the most random name on the list, Muschietti may have been thrown out simply because he’s currently a hot item after the unexpected success of Mama. For all his obvious skill, he’s a journeyman director who been involved only in small-scale projects. His attachment to a potential blockbuster seems awfully unlikely at this point.
Finally, Joe Cornish seems like the most likely candidate despite his relative newness to directing feature films. The frequent Edgar Wright collaborator was courted for the Star Trek 3 directorial seat, indicating the studios are still impressed with his work on Attack the Block. An able helmer of both action and humor, Cornish could bridge the gap between cheese and serious swordplay implicit in a Masters of the Universe production.
Of course, all of this could be little more than blind guesswork based on a list of currently hot directorial talent. If even one of the above directors expresses interest in guiding the adventures of Prince Adam, we could be in for a very interesting ride.
Masters of the Universe currently does not have a planned release date. Watch Screen Rant as more details emerge.
Source: Schmoes Know